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Q.1Do I need to make an advance declaration via the Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Declaration System (“CDS”) for importing or exporting a large quantity of currency and bearer negotiable instruments (“CBNIs”)?
A.1

Pursuant to the Cross-boundary Movement of Physical Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Ordinance, Chapter 629, Laws of Hong Kong (Opens a new window) (“the Ordinance”), an advance electronic declaration must be made to the Customs and Excise Department (“C&ED”) via the Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Declaration System (Opens a new window) (“CDS”) for importing or exporting on a cross-boundary conveyance a large quantity of CBNIs (i.e. CBNIs of a total value of more than HKD120,000) as cargo in one batch. The above declaration requirement does not apply to the following types of CBNIs:

  1. CBNIs in the possession of a person arriving in or about to leave Hong Kong on a cross-boundary conveyance (e.g. the personal belongings or checked baggage of air passengers);
  2. CBNIs that are cargo in transit, i.e. CBNIs -
    • that are imported on an aircraft or vessel solely for the purpose of exporting them on the aircraft or vessel; and
    • that, while in Hong Kong, remain at all times on the aircraft or vessel;
  3. CBNIs that are air transhipment cargo within the meaning of section 2 of the Import and Export Ordinance (Cap. 60) (Opens a new window) ; and
  4. CBNIs contained in a postal packet within the meaning of section 2 of the Post Office Ordinance (Cap. 98) (Opens a new window) , i.e. mail.

Q.2What is the meaning of “in one batch”?
A.2

CBNIs imported or exported as cargo in one batch refer to CBNIs imported or exported on a cross-boundary conveyance by:

  1. a person (other than a carrier*);
  2. the same carrier for the same customer* who directly engages the carrier; or
  3. the same carrier for the same customer who engages the same forwarder* to transport or arrange for the transportation of the CBNIs to the carrier (Note).

* Please refer to section 10 of the Ordinance (Opens a new window) for the definitions of “carrier”, “customer” and “forwarder”.

Note: If, for example, the customer engages two different forwarders to arrange for the import or export of CBNIs, the CBNIs will be in different batches.

Q.3Which party is the “customer” under the Ordinance?
A.3

“Customer” is a party who is not a carrier and -

  1. directly engages a carrier to import or export the CBNIs; or
  2. directly engages a forwarder who transports or arranges for the transportation of the CBNIs to a carrier for importing or exporting the CBNIs.

Example:
If Company A engages a forwarder to export CBNIs to Hong Kong from USA via an airline, Company A is the “customer” as mentioned in the Ordinance (Opens a new window) , no matter whether Company A is located in or outside Hong Kong.

Q.4Do I need to make an advance declaration via the CDS for a large quantity of CBNIs which are transhipment cargo?
A.4

The requirement of making an advance declaration does not apply to cargoes in transit and air transhipment cargoes (see Q1). Declaration through the CDS (Opens a new window) are necessary for other types of cargoes.

Q.5How to determine whether a declaration should be made if CBNIs denominated in a currency other than Hong Kong dollars (“HKD”) are imported or exported?
A.5

The value of CBNIs denominated in a currency other than HKD (e.g. foreign currency) would be calculated in accordance with the opening indicative counter exchange selling rate (Opens a new window) published by the Hong Kong Association of Banks (“HKAB”) on the 15th day of the month preceding the month in which the CBNIs are imported or exported. If HKAB did not publish such rate on the day mentioned above, the value of the CBNIs would be calculated according to the most recent rate HKAB published before the day. For example, if the CBNIs are imported or exported on 31 July 2018, the declarant should refer to HKAB’s opening indicative counter selling rate on 15 June 2018. If the CBNIs are imported or exported on 1 August 2018, the declarant should refer to the rate published on 14 July 2018, since 15 July 2018 is a Sunday on which HKAB normally does not publish exchange rates. Historical rates are available at HKAB’s website.

If no opening indicative counter exchange selling rate is published by HKAB for a particular currency, the value of the CBNIs would be determined by reference to the United Nations Operational Rates of Exchange (Opens a new window) (“UN rate”) being effective for the currency concerned on the 15th day of the month preceding the month in which the CBNIs are imported or exported. The value of the CBNIs in HKD can be obtained by converting the nominal value of the CBNIs first to USD and then HKD using the UN rate.

In making a declaration, the value of CBNIs should be stated in the currency in which the CBNIs are denominated. No conversion to HKD is necessary. For example, in declaring USD20,000, the value should be stated as “USD 20,000”.

Q.6Do I need to pay a fee for making a declaration through the CDS of the C&ED?
A.6

Making a declaration for CBNIs through the CDS (Opens a new window) is free of charge.

Q.7Who is responsible for making an advance declaration for CBNIs imported or exported as cargo? Who should be held liable if declaration was not made?
A.7

Any person with a valid digital certificate (see Q9) can make a declaration through the CDS (Opens a new window) . Upon receiving the confirmation on acceptance of the declaration by the CDS, the declarant can notify other relevant parties that declaration has been made for the CBNIs concerned.

If an advance declaration has not been made before the import or export of the CBNIs, C&ED will investigate each case carefully to determine who should be held liable for the failure to declare and decide whether enforcement action should be taken.

Q.8What is the consequence if I do not make any declaration before the import or export of a large quantity of CBNIs; or the declaration contains information that is false in a material particular?
A.8

All breaches are subject to criminal proceedings. The maximum penalty is a fine of HKD500,000 and imprisonment for two years.

Q.9Is it necessary to use a digital certificate for accessing the CDS?
A.9

Yes. For the purpose of confirming the user’s identity, the declarant should use a valid digital certificate to log into the CDS (Opens a new window) for submitting a declaration. Please click this link (Opens a new window) for more information about the recognized certification authorities in Hong Kong.

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